With the end in clear sight, the general consensus seems to be that 2017 was pretty decent for all things grunting, screaming, wailing and bellowing, the gnashing of teeth, faces and ears very much mission accomplished, and on first impressions, it doesn’t look like that trend is likely to slow in 2018.
Though the release schedule is a little light on scene behemoths at the moment, there are some undeniably shiny diamonds to be found buried in the rough, and a number of big-hitters currently in the studio, so only time will tell what’s due to crawl out of the charred woodwork later in the year. For now though, let’s start with the confirmed releases:
For the record, MonkHammer has not heard any of these albums at the time of press:
Watain – Trident Wolf Eclipse – 5 January
Background: The blood-chucking, satan-sucking Swedish black metallers clearly have no time for New Year blues, kickstarting 2018 with a punt to the pods in the form of the follow-up to 2013’s The Wild Hunt.
What to expect: Icy guitars, screeching vocals and the foul stench of death. Not MonkHammer’s thing at all to be brutally honest!
MonkHammer Anticipation Levels (MAL): 10%
Avatar – Avatar Country – 12 January
Background: Record number seven from the rising Swedish melodeath ringleaders threatens to be some kind of post-modern concept album about the band’s own rule over a twisted kingdom. Standard stuff, then.
What to expect: An absolutely barking party cannon filled with death metal confetti hopefully, although early singles seem a little restrained and (cough) sensible.
Fall Out Boy – MANIA – 19 January
Background: Postponing an album by 4 months because it “isn’t ready” and “felt rushed” is rarely a good thing, but the emo forefathers need only deliver a handful of hits to keep the faithful happy.
What to expect: The first singles suggest a huge swing towards pop/EDM and radio rock domination.
Cane Hill – Too Far Gone – 19 January
Background: Following a debut that failed to quite hit the mark set out by early EPs, the promising Ozzie nu-metal revivalists will be hoping to hit the target with a second blast of the retro-rockets.
What to expect: Big grooves and more vocal tics than David Draiman at a Mudvayne karaoke party.
Of Mice and Men – Defy – 19 January
Background: After the underwhelming Cold World and the departure of frontman Austin Carlile, this is make-or-break time for the modern metal titans.
What to expect: A complete abandoning of nu-metal and a return to breakneck riffing and metalcore stomp.
Machine Head – Catharsis – 26 January
Background: Robb Flynn’s groove/thrash metal stalwarts look to continue the growing momentum of recent years with album number nine, their second for Nuclear Blast.
What to expect: Division and controversy. If early reports are to be believed, Catharsis could prove to be 2018’s Suicide Silence.
Marmozets – Knowing What You Know Now – 26 January
Background: The mathcore wizards turned Britrock torch-bearers delivered one of the best debuts of the decade back in 2014, so this sophomore release will be all about establishing that skill as fact, not fluke.
What to expect: More restraint, less roar, but with huge choruses and enough spunk to fuel an army of rabid monkeys.
Turbonegro – RocknRoll Machine – 2 February
Background: The Norwegian deathpunks deliver their first album since 2012, and their second with barrel-bellied British singer Tony Sylvester, offering another shot of aural penicillin to the denim and leather faithful.
What to expect: Less subtlety than Carry On, more bounce than Tigger, and the soundtrack to a bacchanalian end of the world party blow-out.
The Bellrays – Punk Funk Rock Soul Vol 2 – 2 February
Background: Since erupting from the mid-90s California sun like a flaming beach ball, this woefully underrated band have delivered a consistently thrilling full-pelt blend of garage rock and soul that doesn’t stop for anyone.
What to expect: Just look at the album title and work it out. We can’t hold your hand forever!
Legend of the Seagullmen – Legend of the Seagullmen – 9 February
Background: Conceptual debut from the long-gestating prog-metal supergroup featuring Danny Carey (Tool), Brent Hinds (Mastodon), Peter Griffin (Dethklok) and film director Jimmy Hayward (Jonah Hex).
What to expect: “Cinematic psychedelic rock about ship wrecks and giant mutant squid”….err, OK.
Fu Manchu – Clone of the Universe – 9 February
Background: California stoners turn up the fuzz and crank out the jams on album number 12.
What to expect: Huge dirty riffs the size of planets and a rhythm section than can initiate earthquakes. The same as every album before then!
Funeral Shakes – Funeral Shakes – 16 February
Background: Eponymous debut from Watford rock n roll punks featuring Simon Barker and Calvin Roffey of The Smoking Hearts, Lee Barratt of Gallows, and Em Foster of Nervus.
What to expect: Melodic blue collar breakup punk with a wink in the eye, a swing in the hips and a knife to the throat. The kind of stuff STDs are made of.
Feed The Rhino – The Silence – 16 February
Background: Never anything less than phenomenal live, the Kent bruisers have taken four years to craft their latest barrage of abuse, which blends ferocious groove metal with the heart and delivery of hardcore.
What to expect: Ferocity, power and another terrifying touring cycle from towering frontman Lee Tobin.
Black Moth – Anatomical Venus – 23 February
Background: With a new guitarist in their ranks and a new album under their belts after a series of setbacks and delays, 2018 could be a very lively year indeed for the stony British doom rockers.
What to expect: Based on the tracks aired live earlier this year, something very riffy, very heavy and very special.
Turnstile – Time & Space – 23 February
Background: Alt-hardcore Maryland crew dust off the high-tops and snapbacks for the follow-up to universally well-received 2015 debut Nonstop Feeling.
What to expect: Melodic hardcore with heart, soul and the full on stomp of 90s alt-rock.
Andrew WK – You’re Not Alone – 2 March
Background: The full-time Prince of Party hasn’t really delivered much of note since 2001’s I Get Wet, so for many this will be the long-awaited follow-up to said classic, and if the epic artwork is anything to go by, for Andrew too.
What to expect: Party, party, party, party, party, party, party etc etc… (please)
Rolo Tomassi – Time Will Die and Love Will Bury It – 2 March
Background: Experimental prog-leaning hard/math/grindcore loons take another swing into the unknown with a new set of unclassifiable aberrations dredged from the pits of time-signature hell.
What to expect: Impossible to know, but we’d bet our Christmas pudding on it being loud, abrasive and all over the bloody shop.
Ministry – AmeriKKKant – 9 March
Background: Uncle Al’s star may not shine as brightly as once upon a time, but if single Antifa is anything to go by, then the “Hurricane Cheeto” of Trump’s rise to power may be what’s needed to light him up once more.
What to expect: Anti-establishment rants, industrial stomp and a lot of hot air.
Myles Kennedy – Year of the Tiger – 9 March
Background: The Alter Bridge frontman and voice of Slash’s solo band goes solo himself for the first time with a concept album about childhood and the death of his father.
What to expect: Soaring, heartfelt Americana from one of the best voices in the business. Being sarcastic about something this sincere would be like kicking a three-legged puppy down the stairs on Boxing Day!
Turbowolf – The Free Life – 9 March
Background: Overblown and under-thought sophomore album Two Hands threatened to derail the psychedelic Bristol retro rockers completely, so hopes are high that album three will put the train back on the tracks.
What to expect: Fuzzy, shamanistic, chemically imbalanced rock and roll nostalgia that enhances and promotes untamed facial hair.
Monster Magnet – Mindfucker – 23 March
Background: If we ignore a couple of decent but faintly unnecessary remix albums, this is the first proper release since 2013 for Dave Wyndorf’s stoner rock legends.
What to expect: Depends on how many drugs, and which ones, Mr Wyndorf has been enjoying lately, but hopefully huge riffs and lyrics that make less sense than James Corden’s persistant popularity.
Pete Spiby – Failed Magician – 26 April
Background: The erstwhile Black Spiders, Future Ex-Wife and Groop Dogdrill frontman makes his first stab at going solo with a triple album of original material and covers after smashing his crowdfunding target.
What to expect: An eclectic collection from one of the UK’s best songwriters, combining folk, rock, blues and Lenman-knows what else. 2018’s Devolver.
All albums are available to preorder from the usual outlets or the bands themselves.
MonkHammer Anticipation Levels are based on expectation, hope, past form and personal taste, and are in no way scientific (or worth paying attention to!)
Come back tomorrow for Part Two, covering the unconfirmed, the undecided, and in some cases the unrecorded.